JOB OPENING: Director of Product Engineering

For more than 70 years, the Chicago Sun-Times has been the voice of the city’s working women and men. We are seeking a leader to work on our Digital Strategy team who believes in the future of media, delivering relevant content in innovative ways and creating valuable experiences for our audience.

About the Digital Strategy team

The Digital Strategy team exists to support the Sun-Times’ mission of sustainable journalism by breaking down silos and partnering across virtually every department in the company. The team works closely with editors and reporters by collaborating on innovative visual and data projects, as well as providing analytics-based feedback and recommendations to increase audience engagement and subscription growth. This team also partners with the circulation, IT, marketing and advertising teams to ensure the best possible experience for our customers and advertisers.

The Sun-Times relaunched its flagship digital property on Chorus, a publishing platform built and maintained by Vox Media, in May 2019. Meanwhile, the Digital Strategy team remains responsible for extending the Sun-Times’ journalism beyond the CMS with editorial apps and topic-specific microsites, email newsletters and mobile products. The team is also responsible for several legacy WordPress sites, vBulletin message boards, and APIs that connect our digital subscription offerings.

About the Director of Product Engineering role

The Director of Product Engineering is a leadership position within the Digital Strategy team, working closely with and reporting to the Chief Digital Strategist. This person will be tasked with building and leading a team of developers and editorial engineers to execute the team’s goals, while helping foster a culture of inclusion, teamwork and learning.

The ideal candidate has a passion for the media industry and will be asked to share informed opinions that will help shape the company’s digital future. She or he also will possess the necessary technical skills to execute on that vision, bringing in-depth knowledge of web and application infrastructure, open source technologies and news distribution best practices.

This role will primarily work out of the company’s office in Chicago’s vibrant West Loop neighborhood, with occasional opportunities to work remotely.

Job Responsibilities

  • As a hiring manager, your initial task will be to grow the team, working with the Chief Digital Strategist to identify and prioritize our most pressing needs while helping manage the department budget.
  • You’ll be tasked with the technical implementation of our digital initiatives, both from a hands-on perspective as well as directing the day-to-day activities of the developer team.
  • You’ll frequently be asked to collaborate with stakeholders across the company, approving the overall scope for various technology projects while setting expectations with realistic timelines.
  • This role will occasionally be asked to help evaluate outside vendors, as well as implementing and extending their offerings, including subscription platforms such as Piano and Newscycle, email service providers like SailThru, and ad-serving and analytics from Google.
  • Working with the newsroom, you’ll sometimes be asked to design, architect and deliver ad-hoc storytelling solutions, which may include interactive graphics and databases, for news events. Having an understanding and natural curiosity of what’s been done before and how it can be improved will go a long way.

Qualifications

The following are not strict requirements. Candidates who don’t check every box but can provide examples of learning and adapting to new roles will be considered and are encouraged to apply.

  • At least 5-10 years professional web development experience, preferably within a digital media organization.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of CMS software, version control (SVN and GitHub), databases, and application and programming frameworks.
  • Previous experience with data/graphics journalism is a plus.
  • Infrastructure knowledge, including Amazon AWS and other hosting environments.
  • Experience working with a variety of APIs to connect disparate systems.
  • Previous experience working with Google products such as Ad Manager/DFP, Tag Manager, and Analytics is a plus.
  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is preferred, but not more so than relevant experience.
  • Highly self-motivated with a passion to win.

To apply, email a cover letter and a copy of your resume to jobpostings@suntimes.com and mwatson@suntimes.com with “Director of Product Engineering” in the subject line.

Posted: May 1, 2019

This is a non-union (exempt) position. Sun-Times Media Productions LLC does not discriminate in its employment decisions on the basis on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender, color, religion, age, genetic information, medical condition, disability, marital status, citizenship or national origin, and military membership or veteran status, or on any other basis which would be in violation of any applicable federal, state or local law.